In 2016 the future of AHL hockey in Springfield was in question when the Falcons left the city. Years later Springfield now hosts one of the sport’s biggest events.
Some of the best Hockey talent from around the world will take center ice at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield over the weekend.
The 2019 AHL All-Star Classic is being held in Springfield for the first time in 60 years. An event that expects to bring thousands to the city.
Springfield Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa told 22News the growing popularity of the Thunderbirds helped bring the All-Star Classic to Springfield.
“Nine sellouts in that second year really gave us the confidence to do something like this,” Costa said. “We’re always trying to push ourselves as much as we can to get to the next level and that’s what this event is about. when the opportunity presented itself we went after it hard and we’re here now.
The impact of this event extends well beyond the ice. Dozens gathered at MGM Springfield Friday morning to preview this weekend’s events.
Mary Kay Wydra, President of Springfield’s Convention and Visitors Bureau said the classic couldn’t have come at a better time.
“The fact that this is in January is really spectacular because that is when we need business,” said Wydra. “I’m quite certain people will be coming to the casino to play, so with the 800 room nights it’s expected to generate, we’ve calculated the event at $2.8 million.
The festivities will begin Sunday night with The All-Star Skills Competition beginning at 7 p.m.